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Learning with Lydia

: What can we learn from the world of digital marketing and content?

Yesterday I went to a talk about women, photography and marketing by an outstanding young woman, Lydia Pang. Half-Chinese and growing up in South Wales, Lydia now works as Creative Director in New York for Refinery29, a mission-driven digital media and entertainment company aiming to be a “catalyst for women to feel, see, and claim their power”.  She has just turned 30 and always wears black lipstick.

 Here are some of the thoughts and ideas that Lydia mentioned. And some questions that I think they raise for us in healthcare.

1. Canonical authorship > Collectivism

At Refinery 29 it is all about the team achieving the mission. Not about heroes. Lydia noted that a focus on a single author is a more masculine approach. Whilst general practice in the UK has been predominantly a team sport in the 18 years since I have qualified at least, we are widening our teams with more disciplines coming on board. How are we making sure that we are working on our mission together? 

2. Give the audience language

The Gender Nation Glossary published by Refinery 29 contains 85 terms related to gender “defined by people who identify with the terms themselves”. Lydia talked about how we can be ‘constantly trying to keep up with language’. Do we do enough to help patients ‘claim their power’ by co-defining a common language? How could we do that?

3. URL – IRL Loop

To really get us to buy into them (and to learn about us) brands want us to give us opportunities to interact with them offline, through opportunities that we might have come across online, and that we then share with our networks online. If it all stays online then there isn’t as much for those close to us to be interested in. And just as you thought the high street was dying look out for the rise of ‘experiential shopping‘. What kind of experiences do we give our patients? What do they want? What could a URL-IRL loop look like in healthcare? 

4. Authenticity wins

Merthyr Tydfil woman and stylist, Charlotte James, collaborated on a series of photographs of people from Merthyr wearing high end fashion in 2015. Merthyr Rising was named after the workers’ protest in 1831. She then worked with fashion brand, Helmut Lang, to showcase their latest collection on women in their 70s and 80s from Merthyr Tydfil. Unlike brands who need to reassure consumers that they are socially-driven, people trust the NHS, primary care doctors and nurses and the people in our teams. How can we maintain this authenticity and trust as we change the way we work?

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